The Very Best of El Chelis

Que paso? (photo:

Que paso Chicago? (photo:

It’s a special week for Fire Nation because a special guy is coming to town on Sunday: the one and only José Luis “El Chelis” Sánchez Solá, head coach of Club Deportivo Chivas USA. Let’s get to know this week’s opposing head coach through his own words, shall we?


At his press conference after being named head coach of Chivas USA in December 2012:

“We are going to try to implement a more appealing style of soccer for our fans, without forgetting that we are a team that plays in the United States. We will look to appeal to both cultures while obtaining positive results for the club. I feel that Chivas USA, at some point, lost that flavor and technique with the ball that is emphasized in Mexico and Latin-America; we must re-establish that part and combine it with the MLS style of play.”



On Chivas USA’s identity:

“I could name 15 Mexican-American players off the top of my head who have played for other teams but have never played for Chivas USA. This is a real tragedy. It is like having daughters, not knowing where they sleep and when you find them, they have each had three children and you think to yourself, ‘How did this happen?’”

His coaching philosophy:

“The gospel says that if a bee escapes from the hive, let it go. Here, no one can do anything by themselves. Everyone does it for the team.”

“I would rather lose 5-4 or 5-2 than to win 1-0. … I want fans to be happy and entertained.”

“If you go into a match and you grind and grind and grind for the good of the team, at the end, it rewards you. In a barrel of feces, you’re grinding and grinding, you finally poke your head up to get the fresh air.”

After a week of MLS preseason training camp:

“I forget more and more each day that they are players from Chivas, that they are players from Mexico. It’s like a fruit salad – you have a hard time figuring out what’s the watermelon and what’s the cantaloupe. We’re all Chivas USA, we’re all the same cocktail.”



On MLS sports medicine after goalkeeper Dan Kennedy injured his finger during training camp:

“It’s a whole different type of medicine they use here. I would start to get angry but I don’t want to get angry. The recovery of players here is entirely different in this league. It’s something we need to change here, but we’ll do that little by little.”

More on MLS sports medicine after striker Juan Agudelo suffered a minor foot injury during training camp:

“He does have an injury, though I’d want him not to have one. From what I’m accustomed to, I say he doesn’t have an injury. But with the process here and the athletic education they have here, they say he is injured and needs to rehab for three days.”

“In the whole world, you take a disinflammatory, a muscle relaxant, do some hot-and-cold treatment, and the next day you’re training with the injury [Agudelo] has. In the soccer here, you’ve got to stop activity for three days for the foot to return to full strength.”

On his squad:

“This team won’t die by dandruff.”  

“I’ve had 29 pairs of ears and willing players, so that facilitates things for me. The problem is when players begin to complain. But, no, when I say frog, everyone on this team jumps.”

“This is a team that will wrestle and fight, a team that will launch itself from the top rope.”



On himself:

Q: Why don’t you like wearing socks? 

A: “The contact of my nail with the fibers gives me small bumps over my body ever since I was a kid. For me, it’s a commodity to not wear socks.”

“I can’t express myself in English. The English language doesn’t have enough verbs for what I do and what I say. But it’s not about the language…the ball is round for everyone.”



On living in America:

“I don’t see myself living here two years…I miss my home, my family, my friends, my seat, my TV and the ocean…sometimes [Puebla] is not a nice town. Sometimes the people don’t look at me good, but it is my home.”

On the business side of the game:

“Chivas doesn’t own [Juan] Agudelo or his transfer rights [after the season]. We don’t even own half of them, so the people like you who wear fancy pants need to decide what to do.”



After Chivas USA’s 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy on Sunday:

Q: Why do you not like the Galaxy? 

A: “I could not like Ferrari or the houses in Beverly Hills. I recognize the greatness of the team.”

“Our adversary was magnificent. They are by far the best team in the league and one of the best on this continent. I respect what they do, but they are New York’s team. They are the team of the New York office…there were 70 fouls that cut our defense or amplified their offense, so in a way, that’s biased. That sort of team exists in Spain with Real Madrid and Argentina with Boca Juniors. There is a team in every country. Galaxy is that team here.”

“While I told him [the referee] at halftime to call a fair match, he laughed. He had a wide smile on his face, as if to say, ‘This idiot.’”

“Sure, they can fine me and rip up my passport, but I’m not here to be a joker. Some might say I’m here to draw laughs, but I’m not here for that. I’m here to field a serious team.”



On the state of his team (and himself) after the L.A. draw:

“We can get to a level of play a little over the one we are now. There’s not much of the same quality. Why? Because the quality in soccer costs money. Likewise, this team doesn’t have a lot quality, but in the style of play and the way they make things easier, they can reach big things. That’s my responsibility.”

“I count [on] the attention of 27 players, ready to do as I say. And that commits me to tell them intelligent things and I’m not on the intelligent level every day. A lot of the times, I mess up. I make a lot of errors. Yesterday I committed a lot of errors. It’s bad on my part, to have a group so attentive, ready, and so disposed to do things and that I can’t communicate that to them.”

On the potentially difficult task of coaching his first MLS away game in Chicago:

“Are they going to throw bottles at me? I come from Mexico’s first division. I’ve been in very difficult stadiums that from the moment I arrive, all the fans are saying “***** tu madre Chelis” and that’s how it is for 95 minutes. You think they’re going to scream ‘****** tu madre Chelis’ for 95 minutes? Are they going to throw urine at me? Are they going to throw bottles? Rocks?”




8 thoughts on “The Very Best of El Chelis

  1. Haha there’s seriously no way I could hate on this guy. He’s just too much fun. Cannot wait to see this Chivas match now.

  2. Pingback: Fire v Chivas USA match preview | Chicago Fire Confidential

  3. Pingback: On the Fire in Chicago… | the axe

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